For anyone sick and tired of the MySchool arguments: "The Friends Union say new MyFriends website could ruin friendship forever"
What would you do if you had the information to work out who your real friends are? Cameron Bryant’s decision to release data about his friends on what he proposed as a MyFriends website has left many of his acquaintances shaken up.
They fear that the statistics, such as value of birthday presents given and number of times they have slept on his couch, could be grouped together to form league tables. Mary Sims, who met Cameron in high school and has not maintained a strong connection with him over the years, believes that the tables “alienate good people” and could result in “friendly men and women being labeled as unfriendly”. Another of Cameron’s acquaintances, who has asked to remain anonymous, remembers an incident a few years ago when a few off-hand comments by Mr. Bryant resulted in a front page headline of ‘Worst Friend Ever’ over a picture of Steve.
Others believe the tables will allow both Cameron and the greater public at large to see which friends have been loyal and trustworthy, and that this will influence their decision to interact with the some 250 friends on Cameron’s list. Sanjay Mitra, Cameron’s college roommate, maintains that it is the right of the public to know who are good friends. “You don’t want to be hanging out with some guy for 5 years only to find out he’s been leeching money off you and hasn’t once offered to be the designated driver”, Mitra explained.
The Friend Union has vehemently opposed the concept of a MyFriends website, arguing that the statistics are inaccurate. A spokesman for the union, Clay Holetop, told this reporter that many essential friend categories like the number of ‘pokes’ on Cameron’s Facebook wall and the fact that this one time a few years ago they lent Cameron a dollar when he was ordering Thai food so that he wouldn’t get any coins for change, have been ignored. Holetop and the Union believe that these gaps in the criteria render the whole proposal useless.
Another argument against the data surrounds the concept of ‘acting-for-the-criteria’,
whereby friends will act only to advantage their position in statistics such as how many times they’ve bought the drinks or their success rate as a wingman, as opposed to being well rounded friend. The Union believes that this will ultimately harm the Australian people, who will be unable to get true friends as a result of this.
Cameron himself notes that the Top Friends feature on both MySpace and Facebook already reveal a ranking of those close to him. He also claims that people already have common knowledge of the people listed and that the MyFriends website serves to convey this on a much more detailed scale.
Ultimately, the MyFriends website has divided both inner and outer circle of Cameron’s friends. As we await their reactions once the site has been launched, some friends are protesting the rankings by refusing to participate in the footy tipping comp that Cameron runs each year. They believe that this will deter Cameron from publishing his findings, although such a refusal would only make their rankings drop and, in a way, further decrease the desire of the general public to interact with them on a friendly level.